Rodman lost his temper, and the interview went not as planned, when Cuomo started asking former NBA rebounder on political topics, in particular about the US citizen Kenneth Bae, who has been detained in North Korea.
“I don’t give a rat’s ass what the hell you think,” were just some of the words that Rodman said, brandishing a cigar and sporting a blue scarf and gray Red Sox cap.
Sitting near him were former NBA stars, Clifford Robinson, Vin Baker and Charles Smith, who tried to calm Rodman down.
“You have 10 guys here, 10 guys who have left their damn families to help this country in a sports venture,” Rodman shouted at CNN’s Chris Cuomo, when asked about North Korea’s abysmal human rights record.
Everyone except for Rodman appeared to be very uncomfortable, while Rodman continued to scream at Cuomo. Below is the video of that very interview:
Charles Smith told the Associated Press that he’s saddened that their controversial trip to the isolated country has been “dwarfed” by outside issues.
“What we are doing is positive, but it is getting dwarfed by the other circumstances around it,” Smith told The Associated Press. “Apparently our message is not being conveyed properly due to the circumstances that are much bigger than us, and I think that has to do with politics and government.”
Smith defended Rodman, but also indicated that some of Rodman’s statements have “tainted our efforts.”
“Dennis is a great guy, but how he articulates what goes on – he gets emotional and he says things that he’ll apologize for later,” Smith told the AP.
“I feel bad for Dennis, I feel bad for the players,” Smith said, adding that when he played for the United States in the World Games in 1998 he felt elation.
“I felt huge, I felt on top of the world. But I feel the reverse now,” he said. “I feel a lot of remorse for the guys because we are doing something positive, but it’s a lot bigger than us. We are not naive, we understand why things are being portrayed the way they are. We can’t do anything about that; if we could, we would.
“We’re not skilled in those particular areas,” he added. “Dennis is definitely not skilled in those particular areas.”
Many of the players on Tuesday privately expressed second thoughts about going ahead because of an outpouring of criticism in the United States.
Rodman and his team of seven former NBA players, along with four streetballers are scheduled to play a basketball game against the national team of North Korea on Jan. 8 – the birthday of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Both the NBA and NBRPA expressed their regret over the whole idea of Rodman holding basketball games in North Korea.
In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the U.S. remains gravely concerned about Kenneth Bae’s health and is ready to send the U.S. envoy on North Korean human rights issues, Robert King, to seek his release if Pyongyang reinstates an invitation that was withdrawn in August. Psaki declined to say whether Rodman’s visit was complicating those diplomatic efforts.
Rodman is the highest-profile American to meet Kim since the leader inherited power after his father, Kim Jong Il, died in late 2011. He traveled to North Korea for the first time last February and returned just before Christmas to hold tryouts for the North Korean team.Follow @exnbadotcom
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